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Monday, June 30, 2014

Sports and Stories - How it's Done - Simmons and Michaels

Sports can be a colossal waste of time.  Of all the things to spend time on, sports are high on the list of premiere time wasters.  Once I started to think more independently (embarrassingly late in life), I pretty much ignored the sports world as I saw it for what it was: entertaining nothingness for the masses.  Material for the Sheeple to get worked up over and then argue with each other rather than think about and discuss REAL things.

Well, I still like sports.  I really can't escape the lure.  No, I don't watch every Yankee game like I used to in the mid to late 1980's.  (Alvaro Espinosa was an underrated shortstop if you must know).  Watching the Spurs win the NBA title this year was wonderful. They play a great brand of basketball, there is a lot of ball movement, everyone can shoot and move, the team has an obvious plan and no ego.  In MLB, I think you're foolish if you don't watch Clayton Kershaw pitch at least once, and you should watch Mike Trout play outfield for the Angels.

The sports reference sites are good to get your stats.  I'm a stats person of the old school and I can't imagine what my HS years would have been like if I'd had a site like this.  I had to read the stats on the page in the baseball encyclopedia or in Total Baseball.  I probably would have failed out of high school - I would have been on stats overload.  The other site I go to for sports is Grantland.com.  Except for the liberal slant when it comes to anything not sports related (the pop culture is a waste of time as were the comments on the Donald Sterling Afffair), Grantland is an information rich and entertaining place.

The podcasts are well done.  What made me do this post is the podcast with Al Michaels and Bill Simmons.  This will show you how sports can still be worth your time.  Al Michaels has been an announcer for a long time - notice the Old Man Shorts.  Simmons is a Serious Fan with an eye for detail, a great memory, and an entertaining writing style.  Simmons does the smart thing.  The entire last 2/3 of this interview is Simmons simply asking Michaels if he as a story about (fill in the name of a sports star).  He lets Al Michaels talk, and the stories are funny, interesting and entertaining.  Michaels gives you the inside stuff without being salacious.   It is good storytelling in the world of sports, and I have to admit - I still enjoy it immensely.  I think you'll enjoy listening to this, especially if you're a sports fan:

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